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Attorney General William Tong

11/05/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG SUES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY FOR ROLLBACK OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS FOR LIGHTBULBS

Attorney General William Tong today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general and the City of New York, in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) challenging its final rule rolling back energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs.

The lawsuit alleges that the rollback of the energy efficiency requirements for certain lightbulbs would unlawfully delay the adoption of energy efficiency goals, undermine state and local energy policy, and increase consumer and environmental costs.

"Federal energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs have proven to be effective and efficient. Rolling back these standards will only result in higher energy costs per year – a financial burden many Connecticut consumers cannot afford to bear. I stand with 16 attorneys general in opposition to this rollback. Billions of dollars in savings and reduced carbon emissions are on the line," said Attorney General Tong.

The attorneys general’s comments on the DOE rollback proposal, submitted on May 3, 2019, asserted that DOE should maintain the stricter, environmentally sound definitions enacted by the Obama Administration in 2017, which expanded the definition of general service lamps (GSLs) to include seven previously unregulated types of light bulbs.

By including those types of bulbs as GSLs, the 2017 definitions subject them to the congressionally-imposed GSL minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt applicable on January 1, 2020.

The rollback would remove those lightbulbs from the GSL efficiency, costing consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025, or $100 per household per year.

By reversing the 2017 rules, the DOE is enacting a less stringent standard in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This action is arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Additionally, the coalition submitted comments opposing DOE’s related proposal to not amend (and strengthen) energy efficiency standards for common pear-shaped incandescent light bulbs. According to DOE’s own analysis, if DOE were to adopt strengthened energy efficiency standards for these bulbs, the net present value of the benefits to the nation would equal up to $4.171 billion.

In addition to Attorney General Tong, the coalition, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James, includes the attorneys general of Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and the City of New York.

A copy of the petition can be found here.

Assistant Attorney General Robert Snook and Assistant Attorney General Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.

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